Mordecai v. Lindsay - 60 U.S. 199 (1856)


U.S. Supreme Court

Mordecai v. Lindsay, 60 U.S. 19 How. 199 199 (1856)

Mordecai v. Lindsay

0 U.S. (19 How.) 199

Syllabus

Where the decree of the district court, in a case of admiralty jurisdiction, was not a final decree, the circuit court, to which it was carried by appeal, had no power to act upon the case, nor could it consent to an amendment of the record by an insertion of a final decree by an agreement of the counsel in the case; nor can this Court consent to such an amendment.

The district court having ordered a report to be made, the case must be sent back from here to the circuit court, and from there to the district court, in order that a report may be made according to the reference.

This was a libel filed on the 6th of April, 1854, in the District Court of South Carolina by Mordecai & Co., against the schooner Mary Eddy and all persons intervening.

A very brief narrative will be sufficient to show the condition in which the case was when it left the district court, and this is all that is required under the present opinion of this Court.

In March, 1854, the Mary Eddy was in New Orleans, about to sail for Charleston. One hundred and two hogsheads of sugar were shipped on board of her, which were to be delivered to Mordecai & Co. The libel was for the nondelivery of these articles.

The answer admitted the shipment and arrival of the vessel in Charleston, and then averred the delivery of three hogsheads of the sugar, together with some barrels of syrup, the freight of which Mordecai & Co. refused to pay. The answer then alleged that the libellants, having refused to pay freight until the sugars were received by them at their store, or until possession had passed to them, the master unloaded the residue

Page 60 U. S. 200

of the sugars, and, when landed on the wharf, gave notice to Mordecai & Co. that he would deliver the articles to them upon payment of the freight; that Mordecai & Co. having refused to do this, the master retained the custody of the sugars in order to preserve his lien for the freight. A correspondence took place between the parties, which it is not necessary to state for the purposes of this report.

The district judge decreed in favor of the libellants, with costs, and then added:

"Mr. Gray the commissioner and clerk of this Court will ascertain the charges to be made against the respective parties to this suit and state the account between them. For this purpose he is authorized to use the testimony already reported and such further evidence as may be brought before him in relation to this point."

Without any further proceedings being had in the case, the claimants appealed to the circuit court, and the record was accordingly transmitted.

When the cause came up for hearing before the circuit judge, he reversed the decree of the district court and dismissed the libel with costs, whereupon the libellants appealed to this Court.



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